Calling Off America’s Bombs

As the US Congress considers whether to authorize military intervention in Syria, its members should bear in mind a fundamental truth: While Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has repeatedly used extreme violence to retain power, the US and other governments share responsibility for turning Syria into a killing field.

NEW YORK – As the US Congress considers whether to authorize American military intervention in Syria, its members should bear in mind a basic truth: While Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad has repeatedly used extreme violence to retain power, the United States – and other governments in the Middle East and Europe – share responsibility for turning Syria into a killing field.

These governments, led by the US, have explicitly sought the violent overthrow of Assad. Without their involvement, Assad’s regime would most likely have remained repressive; with their involvement, Syria has become a site of mass death and destruction. More than 100,000 people have died, and many of the world’s cultural and archaeological treasures have been demolished.

Syria’s civil war has occurred in two phases. The first phase, roughly from January 2011 until March 2012, was largely an internal affair. When the Arab Spring erupted in Tunisia and Egypt in January 2011, protests erupted in Syria as well. In addition to the usual grievances under a brutal regime, Syrians were reeling from a massive drought and soaring food prices.

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